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A 60-Year Celebration for Jeff and Molly Kingaby

Thursday 28 June 2012, 21:07
By John Baxter

Jeff and Molly KingabyThis July Jeff and Molly Kingaby are celebrating 60 years together with a Diamond Jubilee party in Wincanton. Joined there by their friends and family, they have a lot to celebrate.

Since coming to live in Wincanton Jeff almost immediately became Secretary of Wincanton Museum and it has been his relentless energy, efficiency and friendly manner which has been responsible for enthusing others and keeping the show on the road during a testing time, when it almost looked as if the Museum might fold.

What Jeff has done here during the past eight years in some ways replicates his time living in Morchard Bishop in Devon for twenty-six years. There he was responsible for founding the Bowling Club and launching a town magazine which is now a thriving web-magazine. While there he also wrote and published three books on the town. They also arrived with their five children. They now have thirteen grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Jeff has written a short but fascinating biography, entitled JFK, his initials! In it he describes vividly his childhood in the East End and as an evacuee, "billeted" with a variety of families both well-off and poor during the Second World War. His words evoke a tough and dangerous world and amazingly resilient people. It is hard to believe a couple could see such changes within one life-time.

Jeff and Molly's weddingAfter the war Jeff did National Service for a compulsory two years and was shipped out to serve in Malaysia and Hong Kong. On returning he soon met and married Molly in 1951 and rather reluctantly joined the police in St Albans.

In 1963 he moved from the Hertford Constabulary to the Met. There he was able to pass the necessary courses and clearly showed considerable ability for he was promoted steadily, ending up as an acting Chief Inspector in Greenwich.

In the course of his service he also had one particularly narrow escape. In 1976 he was confronted by an IRA gunman who had already killed a train driver and had fired at the police. He aimed at Jeff at point blank range, only to discover he had run out of ammunition. Jeff was highly commended and received the Bow Street Medal.

Jeff holding a card from the QueenHe then chose to take early retirement in 1978 at the age of 47. This gave him the opportunity to leave the city with his family and settle in Morchard Bishop with the intention of living as he says, "the Good Life", which clearly they did.

Jeff and Molly are soon off for what will be a family celebration with their five children in Romsey, and after that they are booked on a cruise around Britain on The Deutchland.

Jeff is now 81 and all their friends wish them a great holiday, a climax to a fascinating and valuable life together. Here you see Jeff with the card he and Molly received from the Queen, a fitting tribute to a couple whose lives have been devoted to public service, the community and their family.


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